What's in the Briefcase in Pulp Fiction? Unraveling the Mystery of Quentin Tarantino's Enigma

What’s in the Briefcase in Pulp Fiction? Unraveling the Mystery of Quentin Tarantino’s Enigma

The Mystery of the Briefcase in Pulp Fiction

Ever since its release in 1994, Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction has captivated audiences with its nonlinear narrative, clever dialogue, and enigmatic characters. One recurring question that has puzzled viewers over the years is: What exactly is in the briefcase that drives the plot of the movie? In this article, we will unravel the mystery and explore the various theories surrounding this iconic object.

The Enigma of the Briefcase

The briefcase in Pulp Fiction serves as a plot device that drives the actions and motivations of several characters throughout the film. It is introduced early on when Jules Winnfield and Vincent Vega, two hitmen played by Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta respectively, are sent by their boss Marsellus Wallace to retrieve it from a group of college kids.

Theories and Speculations

Over the years, fans and critics have come up with numerous theories about the contents of the briefcase. One popular theory suggests that it contains Marsellus Wallace’s soul. This theory is supported by the band-aid on the back of Marsellus’ neck, which is believed to be covering the spot where his soul was extracted. This idea is reinforced by the supernatural occurrences that happen around the briefcase, such as the golden glow and the characters’ awe-inspired reactions.

Another theory suggests that the briefcase contains diamonds. This theory is based on the glowing quality of the contents and the fact that diamonds are often associated with wealth and power. Additionally, it is speculated that the diamonds were obtained illegally and serve as a valuable commodity within the criminal underworld depicted in the movie.

Tarantino’s Intentional Ambiguity

It is important to note that Quentin Tarantino has intentionally left the contents of the briefcase ambiguous. In an interview, he stated that he wanted the audience to form their own interpretations and create their own mythology around it. This deliberate ambiguity adds to the allure and mystique of the film, making it a topic of discussion and speculation for years to come.

The Significance of the Briefcase

Regardless of the specific contents, the briefcase in Pulp Fiction symbolizes the allure of the criminal world and the temptation it holds. It represents the dangerous and morally ambiguous choices that the characters must confront throughout the film. The briefcase becomes a physical embodiment of the consequences of their actions and the unpredictable nature of the criminal underworld.


The mystery of the briefcase in Pulp Fiction continues to intrigue audiences and spark debate even decades after the film’s release. While the true contents are open to interpretation, the significance of the briefcase as a symbolic object within the movie cannot be denied. It serves as a focal point for the characters’ motivations and adds an element of mystery and intrigue to the story. Ultimately, the briefcase remains an enigma, allowing viewers to delve into their own imaginations and create their own theories about its contents.


1. What is the briefcase in Pulp Fiction?

The briefcase in Pulp Fiction is a mysterious object that holds an undisclosed and never revealed item.

2. What is the significance of the briefcase in the movie?

The significance of the briefcase lies in its enigmatic nature, symbolizing the allure of the unknown and the power it holds.

3. What does the glowing light in the briefcase represent?

The glowing light represents the mystique and allure of the briefcase’s contents, leaving it open to interpretation and speculation.

4. What theories exist about the contents of the briefcase?

Several theories speculate that the contents could be the soul, diamonds, gold, or even an homage to the film “Kiss Me Deadly.” However, none of these theories have been confirmed by Quentin Tarantino.

5. Why did Quentin Tarantino choose not to reveal the briefcase’s contents?

Tarantino intentionally left the briefcase’s contents a mystery as he believed that revealing it would diminish its mystique and take away from the audience’s imagination.

6. What role does the briefcase play in the narrative of Pulp Fiction?

The briefcase serves as a plot device, driving the curiosity and motivations of multiple characters while adding an element of tension and intrigue to the story.

7. Was the briefcase’s contents ever shown or described in the original script?

In the original script, Tarantino did not include a specific description or reveal the contents of the briefcase, leaving it up to the imagination of the viewers.

8. Why does the briefcase emit a golden glow?

The decision to make the briefcase emit a golden glow is purely artistic and stylistic. It enhances the mystique and adds an ethereal quality to the scene.

9. Why do characters in the movie react in awe or fear when they see the briefcase?

The extreme reactions of characters to the briefcase highlight its significance and hint at the supernatural or extraordinary nature of its contents, further fueling the audience’s intrigue.

10. Will Quentin Tarantino ever reveal what’s in the briefcase?

Tarantino has stated that he will never reveal what is in the briefcase, as he wants to preserve the mystery and allow each viewer to interpret and speculate on its contents in their own way.